The New Testament

A Historical and Theological Introduction

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22. Letters in the Hellenistic World

Questions for Research and Discussion

  1. According to the chapter, a letter “in a real sense represents the absent person.” How might this idea change the way you read the letters and epistles in the NT?
  2. Take one of Paul’s letters and try to find the elements of Hellenistic rhetoric within it (i.e., identify the exordium, narratio, etc.).
  3. How are Paul’s letters ordered in the NT canon? If you were tasked with reassigning their order forevermore, in which order would you place them and why?
  4. Some of Paul’s letters are called “prison letters.” Why? How might this designation change the way we interpret them?
  5. What do you make of the idea of “implied readers” presented at the end of the chapter? How might this help us as we read and use the NT today?